My son is eleven years old by now and started playing the violin one year ago. He is still studiing with the same teacher he started with. We never pushed him towards learning an instrument, it was his very own choice and he even had to be insistent on that. In the first few months he made good progress - with stagnation (and decreasing motivation, although it still is fun to him) since summer.
With his teacher he is working on pieces and etudes, e.g. Wohlfahrt No.16 at the moment. One after another, sometimes for one week, sometimes for a whole month. In my impression fundamental things like tone production, sound point, bowing technique etc. do not play an important role in his lessons. I could still live with that, since there is that idiom (I just cant remember whom we have to thank for it...) that it takes 10 years to play "Twinkle twinkle" beautifully. And neither me nor himself is dreaming of a professional carreer as a musician for him. So no problem to take it a little bit slower.
What really DOES irritate me is something much more fundamental. No matter if sports, music, timbering, painting - almost anything I've learned up to now started with body posture, as a stable fundament to base all the rest on. Well, even after a year my son's body posture seems quite dysfunctional and also harmful to his health. It's hard to describe, but I'll try, and I am curious what you might think about it, especially the teaching folks! (But of course everybody else here is welcome to share in.)
His knees are straightened, he is leaning back a little, and for holding balance he has to stick out his belly quite a bit. Additionally he is holding his violin quite low, approximately at a 45° angle downwards. Despite his Bonmusica shoulderrest (of which I believe he'd be better off without, but that's a different topic...) he's really busy with grabbing his violin, as well with his chin as with his hand. He seems immobilized and not-at-all-relaxed. His left arm is locked by his belly, he can't turn it enough that he could easily reach the G string, so he has to manage the fingerings from D to G string only with his fingers. Shifting out of 1st position he hasn't even started with, but I guess it wouldn't work well that way. Not to speak of the impact on his spine on the long run, if he isn't to quit.
Maybe one part of the problem is his setup (CR & SR), but the best and most individualized setup means nothing if you don't know how you should want to hold your instrument... I try to help as far as possible (no big luck yet, well I'm just a former intermediate level pianist, now MD and beginner violinist myself...) But wouldn't both be within the duties of a teacher? And should be taught in the first few months, and not before just entering conservatory? Aren't such "bad habits" hindering further progress already at a very early stage, and are the harder to unlearn the longer one's sticking with them?!
EDIT: I corrected Bonmusica "chinrest" (as I accidentally wrote) to "shoulderrest". You all are completely right, there isn't such a thing existing... Sorry for my clumsy english!
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